Subscribe Here

Conference | Democracy Under Threat

09 November 2022

On 10 November 2022 the ‘Democracy Under Threat’ Conference will take place in the Diligentia Theatre in The Hague. The conference is supported by The Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Foundation Max van der Stoel, Pax for Peace, Meer Democratie, Transparency International Nederland, The Hague Academy for Local Governance, Agora Europe and Defend Democracy. Please find more information and the full programme here:

At the conference, we will discuss how to prevent further backsliding of democracy, and how to improve democratic institutions and practices in the Netherlands and strengthen democracy abroad. The conference is guided by our manifest “Democracy Manifesto – Our Call for Action!” , in which we present 14 key recommendations on how to improve democracy at home and abroad. The manifest is our contribution on behalf of The Netherlands’ civil society to the Dutch input at the Second Summit for Democracy taking place in Spring 2023. The recommendations will be added on to and improved at the conference and then presented to Dutch government representatives Thomas Zandstra (Head of Democracy department at the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Affairs) and Dr. Bahia Tahzib-Lie (Human Rights Ambassador at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The programme will open with a word of welcome by the moderator, journalist Naeeda Aurangzeb, followed by contributions from Márta Pardavi, Eva Rovers and Hardy Merriman, with an intermezzo from a Belarusian activist.

  • Eva Rovers is a writer, cultural historian and co-founder of Bureau Burgerberaad (The Citizens’ Assemblies Bureau) who advocates for more direct democracy and involvement of citizens in climate change politics.
  • Márta Pardavi is co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a leading human rights NGO based in Budapest, Hungary. A lawyer by training, Marta deals with threats to the rule of law and civil society space in Hungary and the EU.
  • Hardy Merriman is President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and has worked in the field of civil resistance for 20 years, giving workshops for activists and organisers around the world and speaking and writing widely about civil resistance movements.

The morning round of workshops will focus on topics of ‘Power and Counterpower’: citizens assemblies as a mean to strengthen democracy, Corruption: the Achilles-heel of democracy and International Democracy Promotion in Times of Growing Authoritarianism, while in the afternoon we will focus on Working on Democracy in a Country at War; the Case of Ukraine, Rule of Law as a Critical Factor for Democracy and The Importance of Independent Media and Human Rights Organisations for Democracy.

At the end of the conference, the manifest will be handed over of the manifest to representatives of the Dutch government, and the programme will close with a discussion about the manifest with former Minister of Foreign Trade and diplomat Tom de Bruijn, and Members of Parliament.